Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations ( Hornbeck ) and the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs ( Hamilton ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Welles )
Mr. Welles: We wonder whether the President has taken into consideration certain facts, among which the following:
Except for the psychological value of having President Quezon remain in an area whence it may seem to the Filipinos that he can [Page 903] easily—and perhaps soon—return to the Philippines, Australia appears less suited for the engaging in the type of propaganda which would be of help to our side in relations with the Philippines than is the United States. More than 1,000 miles from the Philippines, Australia has no system of communications with the Philippines, has no American press or Philippine press, and has more limited broadcasting facilities than this country.
President Quezon suffers from a tubercular condition of the lungs; reportedly he became so ill while on Corregidor that those around him were afraid that he might die before his escape; and, although he is understood to have improved somewhat since his arrival in Australia, the winter season in Australia, which is now approaching, may have serious consequences for a person in President Quezon’s condition. Furthermore, it is doubtful that President Quezon can receive in Australia the expert medical care which would be available to him here. The death of President Quezon would mean the loss of perhaps the most important rallying point we have to keep the Filipino people loyal to the United States and reluctant to submit to Japanese rule. President Quezon has gained the affection of the Filipino masses and has caught their imagination as has no other Filipino leader.
President Quezon thrives in the midst of action and under more or less of limelight. Although it is true that President Quezon has friendly relations with General MacArthur and that it would be desirable to have President Quezon remain near him because of the fact that the Philippines lie within the sphere of General MacArthur’s command, it is improbable that General MacArthur is going to have much time to concern himself with Philippine affairs or with President Quezon and his associates. In Australia, in view of the fact that there are no Filipinos there other than those who have gone there recently, President Quezon and his cabinet with the passage of time will feel pretty much strained, isolated, and impotent. This feeling will be an added unfavorable influence on President Quezon’s health.
If a definite decision is made to keep President Quezon and his associates in Australia, should not thought be given to the possible appropriateness and possible other advantages, in the light of such a decision, of sending a high commissioner in the near future to be “near to” the Philippine Government?